Originally Posted by MrPainter
Amen brother! I haven't seen anyone suggest such ridiculously low prices but I had a customer or should I say prospective customer think that $29/hour was too high. I only work with an estimate but for restoration work, sometimes it is necessary to give a time and material bid and this was the case that presented itself to me. Of course, I chose not to work with that client but like you say Goya, everything costs and it takes a lot of equipment to run even a small painting business.
Workmans comp for myself only costs over $2000 per yer. That means I have to come up with $166.66 / month for that alone. PDCA membership is over $400/yr. Being a member of the BBB is $395/yer. Liability for my small business is close to $1000 and that's cheap. And that's only a 1M policy. Phone book ads are astronomical. And it you have a web page, there's more cost and you don't stay in business unless you advertise. And the list of other costs go on. Do we have to say anything about the price of gas? And upkeep on pressure washers, buying good brushes and rollers, and plastic, and tape and caulk....etc
I think a lot of what's going on today is DIY television shows and the economy. I live in Michigan on the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe, a well to do suburb. These DIY shows are a farce doing room makeovers for $500 is impossible.......if you hire a contractor. No one in their right mind would deal with the stress of owning a small business if they didn't want to make $$$$$$$$ You can make $20 an hour at a lot of jobs. Union Painters and Carpenters make that all day long. With benefits. The problem is so many people, around here especially are unemployed. So they by a truck and some tools and there in business. But they don't know how the business works. They don't even know what a square foot price is! I saw an ad in the Grosse Pointe news that read "Quality Painting, $16 an hour, it will look like you paid $40!" I laughed hysterically! What a schmuck! That guy should be working for someone! Not himself! I'm a young guy, I've been self-employed for two and a half years now. I worked for a Renovation Company for 5 years before I split. My company is licensed and insured. General Liabilty costs me about a thousand for a 600k policy. But I do more than just Painting. I do trim, bath remods, etc. So, unfortunately these homeowners hiring these hacks are going to get burned eventually. $20 an hour seems like a deal but is the work good? Are they milking the job? How can you tell a homeowner I'll work buy the hour? So they bill you for 25 hours equaling $500 and the homeowner bought the materials? Any respectable contractor is going to but there own material. It makes sense, Contractors get better prices! I can get a $55 dollar gallon of Oil Base Trim Paint for $30 bucks. I don't make money off my material, I consider that a deal to the Homeowner. So the guy working by the hour for cheap, in many cases isn't working for cheap and possibly is some hack milking a job, and the homeowner is paying top dollar for Paint. Charge a fair square foot price and you'll make money. Factor in Furniture moving as well. 2008 I charged .75 a sq surface ft. For walls, 2 coats, with base included. I coat ona white ceiling .45 a sq ft. .95 a lineal ft for door and window casing, 2 coats. Doors prices vary. Figure in Plaster repair and caulking with time. I use oil on my trim because it prduces a harder, more durable finish and it looks better, tapes easier. My profits ranged from $250 to $400 a day for painting. Before the right offs it seems like a lot of dough but it really isn't! So homeowners looking for "deals" should paint their house themselves, or hire a friend or family member. Sometimes what looks like a deal really isn't! I've seen guys buy 7 dollar paint brushes, its a joke. Any decent brush is going to be over $15. So really in essence these guys are making the same as us, but doing complete work! You think there going to work an hour on the job to pay for a $22 paint brush? That's why they buy them for $5!